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Going for a walk around Madeira - Lines I to IV

Going for a walk around Madeira - Lines I to IV - Map

Phespirit completed four walks around Madeira.

  1. Boaventura - Origem da Levada da Achada Grande   [appr. 4km]

    Having arrived by bus at 11:00am, Phespirit set out just a few metres downhill from Boaventura Church [A], ascending steps on the right of the road and then quickly turning right on to some more steps. These steps lead to a concrete footpath that in turn leads to a road. After a right turn comes a left, upon which is a sign to the left indicating a footpath to 'Origem da Levada' alongside a trickle of water. The footpath continues steeply up steps for about twenty minutes, emerging at the levada itself. Here a sign points left to 'Achada Grande' and right to 'Origem da Levada'. Phespirit turned right and followed an easy path to reach his destination [B] at 12:10pm. Along the way he unblocked part of the levada where an old tree stump had tumbled into the watercourse overnight and caused a stretch of the footpath to flood. From the levada source Phespirit back-tracked, reaching the top of the descending footpath before quarter to one. He was back on the road at five to one, and back at Boaventura Church [A] at 1:10pm.

  2. Boaventura - Arco de São Jorge   [appr. 4km]

    Phespirit left Boaventura Church [A] at 1:30pm. He followed the main road downhill, U-turning round to the left and twisting further downhill, to reach a sign for 'Caminho do Calhau' twenty minutes later. After a ten minute descent on a stepped pebble footpath through trees, he arrived at the old stone bridge crossing the Ribeira do Porco. At this point he took a quarter of an hour out of his hike, turning left from the end of the bridge along a precarious red clay footpath, to visit some nearby ruined buildings that overlook the dramatic coast. Back on track, he headed up a couple of switchbacks to a choice of three directions: a concrete road to the right; a path zig-zagging up the middle; or a level path to the left. The path to the left eventually dips back down to the old ruins. Phespirit took this in error before backtracking to path in the middle. And exhausting ascent followed, which Phespirit crested at 2:50pm. He sat for a while before moseying along the now-level path all the way into Arco de São Jorge. He reached the Restaurant Arco at a quarter past three, and was at the central bus stop [B] at 3:30pm. NOTE: While still in Boaventura, Phespirit walked past a small dog that had been resting in the road, but which promptly jumped up and followed him all the way to Arco de São Jorge. When Phespirit detoured, the dog detoured; when Phespirit rested, the dog rested. It made a charming companion, but left Phespirit feeling concerned that might be leading it astray, and bad that he had no food to share with it.

  3. Boqueirão - Camacha - Ribeirinha - Romeiros - Babosas   [appr. 20km]

    The number 60 bus from Funchal terminates at Boqueirão [1], peculiarly in the middle of nowhere. Phespirit went to the end of the line and then walked about 700m back down the road to where a sign indicates 'Levada dos Tornos'. Phespirit's plan was to stay with the levada all the way to Monte, just north of Funchal. He started at 12:10pm, and after three minutes the Lombo Grande reservoir came into view on the left. At 12:30pm he reached the first of six tunnels. This one would have been profoundly awkward to stumble through without the aid of a torch. He reached a second tunnel not long after, but this was shorter and straight so no torch was needed. At 12:55pm the levada crossed in front of a waterfall with a cascade of large rockpools to the right. Phespirit paused here for a dip and a rest in sunshine and shade before starting again at a quarter past two. Ten minutes later he passed through a short straight tunnel, and passed through the fourth tunnel ten minutes after that. This latter one emerged by a couple of houses, marking the lower end of Camacha [2]. Ten minutes later he heard the church bells of Camacha toll 2:45pm somewhere close by, just to the north, and ten minutes after that came the trickiest part of the whole walk as the levada entered a tunnel that was impossible to walk through. Phespirit detoured left onto an improvised footpath and followed it as it looped around to the right, over the tunnel and up onto a road at Ribeirinha. He followed this road to the left and stayed with it as it rose and turned to the right, passing beneath a flyover, and looping back round to the left, emerging at a T-junction with a laboratory directly on the left. He turned left, then first right through some new housing, passing a café and soon turning left through some large gates, leaving the road and descending on a stone track that leads down to the levada. Phespirit rejoined it at 3:15pm. At twenty to four the levada crossed under a road, and a quarter of an hour later arrived at the longest, wettest, narrowest tunnel - the final tunnel - that Phespirit would have to pass through. It took almost ten cramped minutes. After a little more walking the levada passes under a road, and then another, where for the first time Phespirit saw a helpfully reassuring sign: 'Levada dos Tornos / Monte'. The levada passes under two more roads, followed by a road bridge and then another road, after which Phespirit arrived at a reservoir at 5:00pm. Ten minutes later he crossed yet another road near the faded red and yellow chapel of Quinta do Pomar. The spiders' webs across the tops of its front doors are so old that even the spiders within them are long dead. At 5:40pm Phespirit arrived at the village of Romeiros [3] where concrete steps lead down to a bus stop. He ignored the steps and stayed with the levada, which is covered by concrete slabs as it passes through Romeiros. At 6:00pm he was in sight of a tall thread-like waterfall, quite spectacular, and ten minutes later reached the end of the line as the levada disappeared into a 1.5km-long tunnel, albeit still accompanied by its footpath. Phespirit rested for ten minutes before setting off along an earthy footpath away from the levada. After another ten minutes this path met with the bend of a stone footpath. Against all intuition Phespirit took the necessary turn to the right, steeply up hill, emerging five minutes later at the Babosas cable car station [4]. The intention at this point had been to walk back down to Funchal, but less than 300m out of Babosas he found that whichever road he tried to take he was attacked by loose dogs. He had no choice but to find a relatively secluded corner and wait for a number 22 bus.

  4. Caniçal Tunnel - Pico do Facho - Caniçal - Ponta de São Lourenço   [appr. 16km]

    Taking the number 113 bus out of Funchal, Phespirit stayed with it as far as the west end of the Caniçal tunnel [1]. He began walking from here at 10:10am along the side road to Pico do Facho [2]. It took a quarter of an hour to reach the top. After ten minutes of enjoying the fine views south to Machico and Funchal airport, and northeast to Caniçal and Ponta de São Lourenço, he set out along the footpath leading round to Caniçal. He crested the first headland at 10:50am, followed by a mini headland five minutes later, and arrived at a Y-split in the path five minutes after that. Phespirit ignored the path up towards a pylon and took the lower path instead. He reached the tip of the final headland before Caniçal at five past eleven, and rested here for ten minutes. At last, at 11:30am he crossed the old stone bridge over the Ribeira do Natal, marking the end of the first stage of this hike. He walked down to the rocky beach at the western end of Caniçal's seafront to rest and cool his feet. Phespirit stayed here for about half an hour before setting off through Caniçal [3] and onto the road that runs along Ponta de São Lourenço. He arrived at Baía da Abra [4] - the very end of the road - at ten past one. Here he lathered up with sun cream and started out along the remaining footpath a little over ten minutes later. The path is wide and good for tourists but, with many ups and downs and absolutely no shade whatsoever, it is not especially easy going. Phespirit reached the furthest accessible point [5] at a quarter to three, had a short rest, and then headed back at 3:00pm. He returned to the Baía da Abra car park almost exactly three hours to the minute from when he first left it, in plenty of time to catch the 5:00pm bus back Funchal. Wildlife notes from Ponta de São Lourenço: lizards can be seen all over Madeira but they are particularly fearless here. When Phespirit sat on short stone walls (rest stops) by the footpath, or near the small stone cairn on the final peak, not only did he have lizards swarming all around him but all over him, too. Elsewhere there were friendly Berthelot's pipits, and he saw a seal swimming just off the north coast.

DISCLAIMER: It is strongly recommended that visitors take a good local map when setting out on these walks; Phespirit accepts no responsibility if the use of this web page results in visitors becoming lost, injured, maimed, killed or fallen in a levada.

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